Why we should not always take the easy way in business

If you are as lucky as I am, you will enjoy your work and running your own business. We have at least some control of our destiny even given the trials and tribulations of the economic downturn. However, I was reminded the other day by a non-business story I heard that because we are happy with something we do or want to do, that does not mean that we have the right approach.

A couple I know have a perceived issue with the husband’s elderly parents who live in a rural village a couple of hundred miles from our friends. The son and daughter-in-law both work full-time in the Big City and live during the working week in their apartment in town. They have a house in the country which they use at weekends. They do not often manage to make time to visit the needy pensioners; maybe only three or four times a year.

Because the senior citizens have slight mobility problems and poor health, our busy pair suggested that they sell up and move to somewhere near their own country home so that they could be “on call” in case they were needed. Of course they would only be able to visit for an hour or so at weekends because work commitments in the City would keep them away from Monday to Friday.

The whole problem with this plan is that it is not a solution. What the old couple need is to have proper support provided at home through the social services or “meals on wheels” and at least someone dropping in every day to see they were all right. They need to feel they still have their independence. They do not need to be uprooted from the village they have lived in for so many years and taken away from their friends and neighbours. The plan is just to make the slightly younger generation feel better in that they have done something, but it would be the wrong thing and inadequate in terms of support even if the seniors agreed to the move.

There is a risk in business that we take what seems the easy way out in a similar vein. We avoid some marketing which makes us uncomfortable, some allow their fears of networking to prevent them from getting out, and many of us keep picking up and servicing the same sort of unprofitable clients and customers because we are used to doing it and we do not have to get out of our comfort zone. We may even be tempted by these “Get Rich Quick” schemes with which we are assailed via email and the post.

Well, sometimes what may make us feel better in the short-term is simply not good for us. By gritting our teeth now and maybe doing something which goes against the grain (as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else) we can be happier in the longer term. If we make the changes we have feared to make our business better, we will be happier down the line.

When I was a small boy (this dates me) the doctor sometimes prescribed some horrible pink medicine which came in a bottle with a cork. It tasted nasty but it made me better. Have you got that pink stuff in a bottle on your business shelf? Find a spoon and take the medicine. You won’t regret it.

© Jon Stow 2010

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  1. […] Sometimes we need to be brave in business. A week or so ago I wrote about how we sometimes need to show courage in our business and take some hard […]

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